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Friday, July 1, 2022

Staff Editorial

Arizona public schools ban Mexican studies


Cultural despots in Arizona are flexing their hegemonic muscles yet again. This time they are taking on, or taking out, textbooks intended for a now defunct Mexican-American studies class.

Earlier this month, Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction John Huppenthal decided to suspend high school Mexican-American studies classes because he believes they are in violation of ARS 15-122, a law designed to ensure Anglo-culture reigns supreme in the Grand Canyon State.

The law more or less bans Arizona public schools from including classes that portray white people in a negative light. Of course the text of the law doesn’t explicitly say this, but anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to the growing racial tension in Arizona should be able to see through the carefully chosen text of the law.

The law bans classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

This is interesting, because most high school textbooks are geared toward a particular ethnic group — the group that composes most of our population. Among the snubbed are two books from UH’s Arte Público Press that focus on Hispanic civil rights issues.

It is disturbing that there are still people alive today who are so against diversity that they would not only pass, but also enforce such ethnocentric laws.

What is so threatening about Mexican-American studies courses that they warrant being suspended? Could it be that students in these courses would learn about the discrimination Mexican-Americans in our nation have endured and are still enduring today?

It is important for high school students to learn the entire history of our nation  — not just the history that appeases the majority race.  If America is ever to become post-racial, we cannot hide from the past. Instead, we have to celebrate the many cultures that come together to make our nation so unique.

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